Reflections: Alaska at the Autumnal Equinox 2017- Part I – Davidson Glacier

We were fortunate to have been in Alaska during the Autumnal Equinox, that point in the Western hemisphere which marks the seasonal change from summer to autumn. This is the time when light gives way to dark as the days get shorter, and what has blossomed begins its descent into decay. Both these elements were present on this trip for us, but since the weather was so mild we were ecstatic to have so much light. It changed the trip, the mood, and gave us new perspectives on the interplay of the elements in this wild and beautiful Northern part of the earth.

This is a picture of the Davidson Glacier being reflected in the still glacial lake that it created as it has steadily carved out the Chilkat Mountains. Like all glaciers this one is always in the process of transformation. Like most of the glaciers in Alaska, Davidson is receding. That means it is moving away, and as it does it creates brand new earth in its wake. The land formed by a receding glacier is the youngest land on the planet. Catching this moment of stillness and light was a huge gift that has kept me, well…reflecting on so much, which is a historically appropriate state of mind for this season.

Here are the canoes we used to get across the glacial lake to the glacier. It was my goal on this trip to get as close to a glacier as possible because I am absolutely in love with these powerful communities of persons.[1]

See, I am out of my mind with joy.

We traveled in the silty lake for about a mile to the glacier, then we got out and hiked another half mile. The glacier’s enormity awed us all and its elemental power was undeniable. It was loud with the cracking of its massively condensed glacial ice, and the rushing of melting water that flowed from it in rivulets that were no joke. Some of its patterns looked positively serpentine or dragon-like to me. Our guide said that glaciers were the most destructive force on the planet in terms of sheer power (other than tectonics). This one had reduced part of this mountain to the dust that clogged the glacial lake. Davidson was formidable and thundered as it continued its life-cycle and its journey inward.

[1] Harvey, Animism, xvii.

Part II – Tracy Arm

1 thought on “Reflections: Alaska at the Autumnal Equinox 2017- Part I – Davidson Glacier

  • These pictures I am sure capture the beauty only partially. For the size of the glacier can only be experienced. Thank you for sharing these gorgeous creatures!

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